The new legislation will make it easier for enforcement authorities and manufacturers to test products for compliance with the rules. The British legislation will implement Europe-wide rules which control substances used to manufacture plastic food packaging and set limits for chemical migration.
Currently, the use of food contact plastics in Great Britain is controlled by the Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1992, as amended.
The new regulations will implement EC Directive 97/48/EC, of 29 July 1997 (published in the Official Journal of the European Communities No L 222/10 of 12.8.97). They will amend the current rules for testing food contact plastics for chemical migration and consolidate the 1992 Regulations and amendments.
A consultation document enclosing the draft Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1998 has been issued to various representative organisations. It is also available to any member of the public on request, and can be found on MAFF's Internet site at "http://www.maff.gov.uk/food/consult/fcp_98.htm".
The closing date for comments is 31 March 1998.
Separate but parallel Regulations will be introduced into Northern Ireland. The Scottish and Welsh Offices will carry out their own national consultations. Existing regulations on food contact plastics are the Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3145) and its three amendments (SI 1995/360, 1996/694 and 1996/2817).